– this review was first published here at This Is Not a Drill –
‘Tree Trunks’ reminds me of Mazzy Star. That, by the way, is one of the highest praises I’ve got. Mazzy Star had a kind of spell, a way to not only captivate but truly capture. It isn’t just in her voice, it’s her whole person – you can see this if you watch old videos on YouTube. On ‘Tree Trunks’, and much of the Agatha EP, Basement Revolver possess the same slow dreamy-sad pace. We’re in a desert, it’s windy and we’re moving on.
‘Johnny Pt. 2’ reminds me of The Jezabels. Remember The Jezabels? They had a great EP a long time ago, Dark Storm, though after that they got too bombastic. A dark storm is indeed the apt metaphor here, the warm climax of a summer storm (like the one last Thursday here), engulfing you. It’s the classic Slowdive-float, but coming from all directions such that you don’t know you’re floating. ‘Johnny Pt. 2’ is the best track on Agatha, Chrisy Hurn’s voice sliding across the edge of the guitar, the band creating vast space through empty gaps between the drum beats. Not all music is beautiful, but this is.
‘Mountains’ reminds me of Lana Del Rey. Smoother, slightly jazzy, Chrisy sliding through staccato guitars. There’s a theme here, because Del Rey, Mazzy Star and The Jezabel’s Hayley Mary all have voices that turn inward, voices that stop you in your track because of their self-possession. As I wrote, they capture you, you can’t help it. And there’s something special in witnessing this, because usually music is this place where people let their emotions run free, tears and cries. But that doesn’t cost the same energy as the self-control these singers are exerting. It’s not as strange and simple.
‘Bread and Wine’ reminds me of – what’s left? MS MR? (Another theme: their track is called ‘Hurricane’, and earlier I was talking about dark storms. These images are not contingent). It’s the weakest track on Agatha, but at this point, would you care? On the other three tracks, Basement Revolver are great at creating an expanding space, whereas now the drum rolls compete with the guitar waves that drown out Chrisy’s singing. It shouldn’t spoil the fun, because Agatha is a wonderful EP, and Basement Revolver a band that calls to mind the right comparisons, the ones that are timeless. As far as EPs go, that’s no small feat.
-- Caspar Jacobs, July 20, 2017